It's Cherry Blossom Time!
Fun activities to welcome Spring!
When I was a little girl , we had many foreign students live with us that my parents sponsored through the Cleveland Council on World Affairs, an organization that helped bring students from all over the world together with families that wanted to host them. It was the best! Every 4 years I’d have a new “Brother or Sister”, although in truth none of them ever left us!
Two of them were a lovely couple from Japan, Hisashi and Kazuco…who were married in my parents back yard in a beautiful tea ceremony. They taught me many things, but what I remember the most was their love of the beautiful springtime celebrations of Hanami , the ancient cherry blossom viewing festival. In Japan, celebrating the transient beauty of flowers (Hanami) is a beloved custom when the cherry blossoms spring to life.
We didn’t have cherry trees, but my parents had glorious crabapple trees that circled all three acres of their property and we would go outside, spread out colorful blankets , drink green tea and eat special Japanese sweets while we just bathed in the warm spring breezes and falling blossoms. You can learn how to make Wagashi- Japanese Tea Sweets by clicking this link!
Hanami literally means “flower viewing,” although it commonly refers to viewing cherry (sakura) blossoms in particular. The practice dates to the the 8th century – back then it was ume (plum) blossoms that brought flocks of people to the trees – but during the next few centuries, the popularity of sakura reigned supreme.
Hanami is both a noun and a verb, it is a celebration, but one can also “do hanami.” And how does one do hanami? It can be as simple as a walk amongst the trees or a few moments of reveling in the individual beauty of one. But it is often much more.
Traditionally it includes a picnic/party set beneath the pink clouds of a sakura – there are friends and family, favorite foods, and sake. And of course, there is reverence for the trees and the fleeting transience of the blossoms, which last no more than two weeks.
I still do this every year to welcome springtime! I think that you will enjoy it too! It’s a really nice way to welcome back the warm weather and all of the flowers!
For your very own Hanami picnic I found this wonderful Recipe for Cherry Blossom Cookies from Just One Cookbook!
The recipe is in the video below. If you can’t find cherry blossoms, I know that you can use unsprayed organic spring violets in the same way! If you make these, please send me some pictures!
Enjoy this wonderfully happy film all about the beautifully Japanese Cherry Blossom festival called Hanami!
From National Geographic Kids: “The Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of amazing flowering trees in Washington, D.C.
In this episode of "Nature Boom Time," join Charlie and Patrick as they visit the country’s capital city to learn more about these spectacular trees.”
When you start the video, be sure to click on the square icon in the lower right to make it full screen - it’s wonderful!
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